Kansas Army National Guard Veteran Zachary Schaffer Found Unresponsive in Kansas City Home; Death Ruled Fatal Drug Overdose (January 23, 2019)

Zachary Schaffer

Spc. Zachary Schaffer, Kansas Army National Guard

Kansas Army National Guard veteran Zachary Schaffer, 21, was found unresponsive in his Kansas City, Kansas home on January 23, 2019. According to the Dodge City Daily Globe, Zachary fatally overdosed only a few days after he was punished and discharged from the Kansas Army National Guard. According to his mother, Wendy Mottas, Zachary, or Zach, as he was known to most, was accused of failing to show up for multiple weekend drills and discharged with an “other than honorable.” In the midst of losing his military career and eventually his security clearance, Zach was flagged by his command for the prescribed use of Adderall to treat ADHD, even after he was reassured it was okay for him to take the prescription. Wendy doesn’t know if her son’s death was intentional, but stated Zach began suffering with depression and substance abuse during his time in service with the Kansas Army National Guard. Zach went from being a stellar soldier at the age of 19 to being hired as a full time military technician to losing that same position less than one year later for reasons undisclosed. Six months after being fired by the Kansas Army National Guard, he was also passed over for deployment to Afghanistan, having been told he was ‘red flagged’ for the use of Adderall. Six months later, Zach would also experience sadness and grief after losing his friend, 24 year-old Kansas Army National Guardsman Khamis Naser, who died by suicide on July 31, 2018.

Zach grew up in the Hutchinson, Kansas area and joined the Kansas Army National Guard in May 2014. Zach’s mother, also an Army veteran, said he was born in Germany when she was in the military. Zach came from a military family and it was a natural fit for him too. Wendy shared Zach was always intelligent and she knew he would be successful because he was very skilled in anything related to computers and coding. After Zach completed Army basic training and specialty training, he progressed quickly as a soldier and eventually got a full-time job with the Kansas Army National Guard at age 19. Zach was a federal military technician (Personnel Security Technician: GS-7) during the week and on Guard weekends, he was an Intelligence Analyst (E-4). Zach’s downward spiral began when he lost his full-time job as a federal technician and was made to feel incompetent by those who also originally built him up to be a great soldier with a bright future in the military. Zach’s mother does not know why Zach was fired during the probationary period, but she does suspect that Zach had information about other National Guard members whose misconduct were overlooked during routine background checks so they could maintain their security clearances.

Once Zach lost his full-time position, he went from being a professional soldier to not caring about anything anymore. He moved from his home in Topeka, Kansas to Lawrence, Kansas and became somewhat estranged from the family. Zach became secretive, fell in with the wrong crowd, stopped going to therapy and became reliant on self-medicating to take care of the pain of depression he was feeling.  Realizing this lifestyle was not healthy, Zach moved back home to Junction City and tried to get his life together in early January 2018. After about three months of living at home, he discovered the Kansas Army National Guard unit in Junction City, Kansas was tasked with a deployment to Afghanistan, to which he inquired and expressed interest to the unit’s leadership. The leadership put him through mobilization procedures for nearly a month and then his deployment orders to Afghanistan were cancelled citing he had been flagged during the pre-deployment process for Adderall use. Zach was prescribed Adderall for the diagnosis ADHD and his mother states he was prescribed the drug due to a struggle with concentration and focus. Once Zach was flagged, someone made the decision to prevent him from deploying to Afghanistan and his mother does not know if his National Guard unit influenced the decision at that time or not.

Zach was looking forward to the deployment. Instead his orders to Afghanistan were cancelled and it was then Zach started meeting regularly with mental health personnel for depression. It is unknown what Zach may have shared with health care professionals, but his family realized something changed in Zach’s life. Shortly after, Zach moved from Junction City to Kansas City with a friend with which his family was not familiar. He remained distant from his family and friends. Worse yet, the same military officer (O-4) who made the decision to fire Zachary from his full-time military technician position also influenced National Guard unit leadership to end Zach’s military career in its entirety. Leadership observed the changes in Zach’s attendance and behavior. Instead of helping him, they used it to revoke his security clearance knowing he needed a security clearance for his job as an intelligence specialist in the National Guard and his full-time job with the Marine Corps. During this time, the only thing done to assist Zach or try to get to the root of the issues he was having was to refer him to the unit’s social work office. At some point, this social worker was told to ‘stand down’ and allow the unit’s part-time civilian social worker to take care of his issues. To his mother’s knowledge, this individual never contacted Zach to offer support and he was never offered any type of assistance including participation in the Army Substance Abuse Program.

In early July 2018, Zach contacted his mom and stated he wanted to go to an inpatient rehabilitation program. He self-admitted to the substance abuse program to help him stop his drug dependency and get his life back on track. The day after Zach left the rehabilitation program and returned to Kansas City, he learned his best friend and fellow National Guardsman, Khamis Naser, had died by suicide. Zach told his mother he had talked to Khamis only five hours before he was found dead in his apartment. Zach attended the August 2018 drill weekend and his mother said he told her he was met with disdain from his leadership. Zach’s mother states she has text messages from her son indicating the NCOs in his unit were bullying him. Zach told her they said his best friend would still be alive if he ‘wouldn’t have been high’ and ‘would’ve been there for him’ (Khamis). After Zach was blamed for the death of his friend, he got in a physical confrontation with one of his NCOs. During another drill weekend, word got around the unit that leadership wanted to ‘get rid of that “shitbag”’ (referring to Zach) because he made the unit ‘look bad.’ Despite the ill treatment by the Kansas Army National Guard, Zach picked himself up and got a new job as a civilian contractor for the Marine Corps in Kansas City at age 21. Unfortunately, a short time after he got the job, he was terminated when he learned the National Guard had suspended his security clearance. At this point, Zach had no income, including from his drill weekends, due to a status discrepancy. Zach was still considered in ‘active duty’ status because of the deployment orders to Afghanistan and no one in his military leadership would assist him to get transferred back to his original unit. His mother states he discussed this with someone at his unit who agreed with him — why bother going to weekend drill if he was getting bullied and not receiving any pay? He stopped attending drill after September of 2018 and once again became estranged from his family. He would never return to the National Guard.

According to the Kansas Adjutant General’s Department, the Kansas Army National Guard suicide prevention program is “based on the premise that suicide prevention will be accomplished through the positive action of unit leaders and implementation of command policy. The key to the prevention of suicide is positive leadership and honest concern by supervisors for military personnel who are at risk of suicide and appropriate intervention for all such personnel.” Khamis Naser died by suicide in July 2018 and six months later in January 2019, Zach Schaffer died of a fatal drug overdose. How did the Kansas Army National Guard’s suicide prevention program help Khamis and Zach? Although we don’t know why Khamis Naser chose to die by suicide, we do know he was a current member of the Kansas Army National Guard. One would think losing a fellow comrade would initiate a more proactive suicide prevention approach yet instead we learn the very people tasked with a “positive and honest concern by supervisors” for military personnel at risk of suicide and appropriate intervention was not implemented in the last couple of years. Zach was a soldier dealing with the loss of his full-time job, grief from the loss of his friend, the loss of his military career, and the loss of his security clearance. Military leadership knew Zach was not well and they knew he was a risk to himself.

The top 10 most stressful life events include death of a loved one, separation, starting a new job, workplace stressors, financial problems, and chronic illness/injury. Zach’s mom shares he was dealing with six out of ten of those stressful life events at the age of 21. Wendy wonders why the military wouldn’t be especially cognizant of the fact they are molding young kids into warriors at a very impressionable time in life. At a time when young adults need guidance most, instead in the military environment, they are forced to deal with additional stressors, caused by military leadership in Zach’s case. Why would the same organization at the root of the cause of the downward spiral of young lives be interested in also pretending to care about suicide prevention of those same personnel? The moment Zach was let go from his full-time job was the moment he started to struggle. Why did he get let go? Why did it contribute to a need to use drugs to self-medicate? And one can only imagine the kind of grief Zach experienced after losing a close friend in such a tragic way. Did anyone refer Khamis or Zachary to mental health programs or the Department of Veterans Affairs?

It appears Zach’s source of pain or original stressor began when he lost his full-time federal military technician position as a Personnel Security Technician. After Zach lost Khamis, another high-paying job and his military career, his downward spiraled accelerated. Zach was dead less than six months after his friend passed. How can the National Guard implement a suicide prevention program when they are the suspected cause of the unit members’ downward spiral? Why did the National Guard choose to characterize ADHD treatment as a ‘mental health risk’? The prescription was used to assist with concentration and focus. Why would Adderall negatively impact a deployment when it is a fact the active duty deploy personnel on all kinds of prescribed medications? Why not help Zach transfer from Active Duty status back to his National Guard unit so he would be paid for drill weekends? How did Zach go from successfully holding great positions of responsibility within the unit to losing his entire military career? Why did they give Zach an ‘other than honorable’ discharge knowing it will negatively impact the rest of one’s working life, never mind the impact losing a security clearance has on anyone’s future financial security. Why did Zach have to lose everything? How does that help his mental health?

Wendy Mottas told the Dodge City Daily Globe that there is a stigma to be tough in the military. And this was confirmed the day the National Guard decided Zach was a “mental health risk” because he had a prescription for ADHD he wasn’t even currently taking. Each Commander has the ultimate say on whether or not an individual can still perform despite taking medication. The prescription was for concentration and focus and not something that had to be a military career ender. Wendy said her son could have used extra support following Khamis’s death and that she would like to see mental health be taken more seriously by the Kansas Army National Guard. While she realizes there were many factor’s influencing Zach’s death, she doesn’t understand why the National Guard wouldn’t offer to help him like so many soldiers with substance abuse are assisted. In Zachary’s case it appears leadership actively contributed to the decline of Zach’s mental health. Who at the Kansas Army National Guard would offer help to Zach after the chain of command (supervisors and leadership) decides a soldier is a “shitbag”? How does the Kansas Army National Guard implement a command driven suicide prevention program when they are the same leadership contributing to a downward spiral? How can the same people tasked with punishing their personnel with a heavy hand simultaneously help prevent a suicide or untimely death of young soldiers? At the very least, in this situation, the National Guard needs to upgrade this soldier’s other than honorable discharge to honorable to make this right for Zach and his family.  It’s one thing to let someone go, it’s an entirely different thing when a person’s life and future is destroyed.

“The military still has to take some responsibility for this, I think, and I think more could have been done to be preventative and be proactive instead of reactive. They have a responsibility to these young men and women. It’s not to live their lives for them or to be mommy or daddy or anything like that, but the soldiers still have to live by the army creed, and in order to do that, they have a role in that.” -Wendy Mottas (quote in Dodge City Daily Globe)

Source: Wendy Mottas (Zachary Schaffer’s mother)

Related Links:
Obituary: Zachary L. Schaffer, Kansas Army National Guard
Obituary: Khamis A. Naser, Kansas Army National Guard
Kansas National Guard captain submits resignation in wake of suicides
Kansas National Guard captain submits resignation in wake of suicides
Kansas National Guard Captain Submits Resignation in Wake of Suicides
Kansas National Guard captain submits resignation over handling of suicides
Kansas National Guard captain submits resignation over concerns of soldier suicide
Kansas Guard captain resigns over concern about suicides
Kansas Guard brigade captain resigns over suicide concerns
Kansas Guard brigade captain resigns over suicide concerns
Governor Kelly to sign bill aimed at preventing National Guard suicide
Sen. Moran, Bipartisan Colleagues Raise Concerns Over Alarming Increase in National Guard Suicides
Moran requests DOD review of rising National Guard suicide rate
Sen. Moran joins bi-partisan group of senators addressing national guard suicides
Bi-Partisan Senate Group Calls Attention to National Guard Suicide Rate
Department of Veterans Affairs: National Guard and Reserve
10 Most Stressful Life Events

Army Reservist Sgt. Christina Shoenecker Died of a Non-Combat Related Incident in Baghdad, Iraq (February 19, 2018)

Christina Schoenecker

Sgt. Christina Schoenecker, U.S. Army Reserve

Army Reservist Sgt. Christina Schoenecker, 26, died of a non-combat related incident on February 19, 2018 in Baghdad, Iraq. Sgt. Schoenecker was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 89th Sustainment Brigade, 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Wichita, Kansas. Sgt. Schoenecker’s home of record is listed as Arlington, Kansas. According to Honor the Fallen at Military Times, Sgt. Schoenecker enlisted in the military in May 2009 and served as a human resources specialist. At the time of the press release, the incident was under investigation which is typical with any non combat death but an official cause of death has not been determined or publicized by authorities. The site Popular Military shared that a source close to them in Iraq in an unofficial report believed it was a suicide. This could not be confirmed in other media reports.

In the News:

The body of U.S. Army Sergeant Christina Marie Schoenecker is escorted from the Hutchinson Airport to Elliot Mortuary by the Patriot Guard, Hutchinson Police and the Hutchinson Fire Departments. SGT Schoenecker died February 19, 2018, from a non-combat related incident, in Baghdad, Iraq at the age of 26. She will be buried in her hometown of Arlington, Kansas, Monday, March 5, 2018. -The Hutchinson News (March 2, 2018)

U.S. Army Sergeant Christina Marie Schoenecker was buried at Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, Kansas on Monday, March 5, 2018. SGT Schoenecker died February 19, 2018, from a non-combat related incident, in Baghdad, Iraq at the age of 26. -The Hutchinson News (March 5, 2018)

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Honor the Fallen: Sgt. Christina M. Schoenecker, U.S. Army Reserve
Christina Marie “Tina” Schoenecker | 1992 – 2018 | Obituary
Kansas soldier dies in Iraq
Kansas soldier dies in non-combat incident in Iraq
Female soldier dies in accident in Iraq
US soldier dies in non-combat incident in Baghdad
SGT Schoenecker’s body returns home
Army Sgt. Christina M. Schoenecker honored in dignified transfer Feb. 22
Army identifies soldier killed in noncombat incident in Baghdad
Army Identifies Sergeant Who Died While Deployed Supporting ISIS Fight
Kansas soldier dies in non-combat incident while supporting ISIS fight in Iraq
U.S. Army sergeant dies in Iraq, unofficial report suggests it was suicide
Mystery surrounds ‘non combat’ death of female soldier battling ISIS in Iraq as her body is returned home and Department of Defence announce an investigation
IGTNT: “She will be sorely missed” | Daily Kos
Funeral held for KS soldier who died last month in Iraq
Family and friends celebrate the life of Christina Schoenecker
Family, friends gather to honor fallen Arlington soldier
SGT Christina Marie Schoenecker’s burial service
Latest U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq
On Memorial Day: Three stories to remember the soldiers we have lost
CJTF-OIR reflects on significant military gains, fighting ISIS in 2018
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Riley, Kansas (US Army)


Fort Riley provides a Modern State-of-the-Art full spectrum, maneuver-friendly training environment in the Midwest, supporting the “Total Army.” Check out this five minute video to learn why Fort Riley finds itself positioned perfectly to provide for the Army’s current and future training needs. -DVIDSHUB

*Research not complete, includes combat deaths

2017
Dameko Artis, Civilian: Fort Riley man victim of shooting at shopping center
Eugene Cleaver, US Army Veteran: Former soldier stationed at Fort Riley sentenced to 17 years for sexual abuse of child in Texas
Richard Cox, US Army: Died 4 days after suffering gunshot wound
Alejandro Franquiz, US Army: Self-inflicted gunshot wound off post
Xavier Harden, US Army: Entered the lake from a boat and didn’t resurface, body later recovered
Ikaika Kang, US Army: FBI arrested former Ft Riley soldier in HI on terror charges
John Martinez, US Army: Found unresponsive in his barracks room
Peter Robbins, US Army: Shot and killed by police in Junction City

2016
Antonio Bates, US Army: In 2016, veteran sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexual abuse of a minor in the 1990s while stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas
Phillip Cruz-Medellin, US Army: Found dead in nearby Manhattan
Oscar Delgado, US Army: Found dead on post after missing for a week
Wayne Grigsby, US Army: Relieved of command of the 1st Infantry Division due to loss of confidence in ability to lead, suspended and fired
Joseph Stifter, US Army: Died in fatal roll-over accident, Iraq

2015
Randy Billings, US Army: Killed in Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter crash, Afghanistan
Peter Bohler, US Army: Killed in Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter crash, Afghanistan
Christopher Boynton, US Army: Found dead with gunshot wound on post
James Duke, US Army: Sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after convicted of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, most assaults happened in military housing at Fort Riley from 1996 to 2001
Jessica Echevarria, US Army Spouse: Found dead on post, single vehicle accident
Cyjay Echon, US Army: Jailed after allegedly put infant child in hospital, in critical condition, held on $150,000 bond, waived preliminary hearing
Omar Forde, US Army: Killed in Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter crash, Afghanistan
Kenyon Givens, US Army Dependent: Died from gunshot wound on post
Terry Gordon, US Army: Killed in Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter crash, Afghanistan
Juwan Jackson, US Army Dependent: Charged with involuntary manslaughter by US Attorney’s office
Brian Mastin, US Army: Arrested on child abuse & criminal threatening charges after standoff, suicidal
Alexander McConnell, US Army: Sentenced to 15 years in prison for second degree murder and 2 charges of child abuse
Joshua Silverman, US Army: Killed in Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter crash, Afghanistan

2014
James Henning, US Army: arrested for sexual exploitation of a child, rape, and aggravated sodomy; bond set at $5,000,000, sentenced to life
Scott Wilhelm, US Army: Arrested for sexual exploitation of a child, sexting

2013
Daniel Parker, US Army: Convicted of first degree murder, appealing
Sean Vincent, US Army: Arrested on charges in alleged child pornography case
Kimberly Walker, US Army: Homicide victim of boyfriend, Army soldier

2012
Michael Braden, US Army: Found unresponsive in his living quarters, Afghanistan
John Hughes, US Army: Convicted in the stabbing death of another soldier, sentenced to life in prison without parole
Todd Lambka, US Army: Died from wounds suffered in IED explosion, Afghanistan
Thomas Lavrey, US Army: Found unresponsive in living quarters on post
Jesus Lopez, US Army: Died from wounds suffered in IED explosion, Afghanistan

2011
Nathan Conley, US Army: Found dead in barracks room at WTB, ruled suicide
Florinda Evans, US Army: Accused of homicide by husband’s father
LaShawn Evans, US Army Dependant: Found dead in wife’s barracks in Iraq with gunshot wound to head, Army ruled suicide at first but reclassified to homicide
Aaron Evilsizer, US Army: Found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wound off post
Brice Scott, US Army: Died when insurgents attacked unit, Afghanistan

2010
Eddie Lowery, US Army Veteran: Wrongfully convicted by civilians of a rape that occurred in 1981 while stationed at Fort Riley, cleared by DNA, awarded 7.5 million
Hugh Marquez Jr, US Army: Found dead at friend’s house in Manhatten
Benjamin Miller, US Army: Found unresponsive in vehicle on post

2009
John Digrazia, US Army: Found unresponsive in barracks on post

2007
Jason Butkus, US Army: Died when insurgents attacked unit, Iraq
Camy Florexil, US Army: Died when IED detonated near vehicle, Iraq
Braden Long, US Army: Died when vehicle came under grenade attack, Iraq
Daniel Miller, US Army: Non-combat related incident, Afghanistan
Henry Ofeciar, US Army: Died when insurgents attacked unit, Afghanistan
Antonio Ortiz, US Army: Stabbed outside bar off post, found dead in parking lot
Latoya Pitts, US Army: Convicted of involuntary manslaughter in fatal stabbing of Army boyfriend outside bar
Christian Quinones, US Army: Died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen off post
Castulo Salas, US Army: Sentenced to six months in military prison for shooting death of fellow soldier off post

2006
Jeffery Brown, US Army: Died when UH-60 Blackhawk crashed, Iraq
Steven Mennemeyer, US Army: Died when UH-60 Blackhawk crashed, Iraq

2005
Kyle Dennis, US Army: Sentenced to 5 years in prison for third-degree burglary, accessory to aggravated assault and attempted theft
Luke Hoffman, US Army: Sentenced to 5 years for attempted grand theft and two counts of aggravated assault
Seferino Reyna, US Army: Died when IED detonated near military vehicle, Iraq
Christopher Wilaby, US Army: Homicide of Echo Wiles, convicted in 2011
Echo Wiles, Civilian: Homicide victim of boyfriend, Army soldier

2004
Yoe Aneiros, US Army: Died when vehicle came under attack, Iraq
Pierre Cole, US Army: Arrested for the fatal shooting of store manager James Jung, 52, during a robbery in Chicago, held on $1.5 million bond
Eric Colvin, US Army: Charged with homicide, sentenced to 12 yrs on drug charges
David Heath, US Army: Died when patrol came under small arms, Iraq
Christopher Hymer, US Army: Homicide victim off post by Army soldier
Adriana Renteria, US Army Spouse: Alleged victim of domestic abuse
Carlos Renteria, US Army: Accused of domestic abuse, sent overseas, ordered to attend military anger management and alcohol abuse classes
Neil Santoriello, US Army: Died when IED detonated near military vehicle, Iraq
Daniel Shepherd, US Army: Died when military vehicle hit IED, Iraq
Aaron Stanley, US Army: Convicted of the premeditated murders of 2 Army soldiers, sentenced to life in prison/no parole
Matthew Werner, US Army: Homicide victim off post by Army soldier

2003
Christopher Cutchall, US Army: Died when IED detonated near vehicle, Iraq

2001
James Hawthorne, US Army: Shot in leg after someone shot 4 bullets in his vehicle
Shaun Leach, US Army: Died after someone shot 4 bullets into civilian vehicle
Jeremy Ware, US Army: Accused of attempted unpremeditated murder, carrying a concealed weapon, and wrongful acquisition of a firearm

1985
Francis Badame, US Army: Murdered after tricked and lured by two Army soldiers to go to a remote section of military post to hunt deer, buried in shallow grave
Timothy Keenan, US Army: Faced court-martial on murder and conspiracy charges & charged by state with conspiracy to commit first degree murder; plotted crossbow and beating death of Pvt. Francis Badame
Wayne Partridge Jr, US Army: Testified he shot Pvt. Francis Badame in the back with a crossbow and Timothy Keenan repeatedly beat Badame with a shovel

Related Links:
Two dead in Fort Riley shooting (1995)
2 Brothers May Face Explosives, Gun Charges (1995)
Troops in Distinguished Ft. Riley Unit Resent Notoriety From McVeigh Ties : Military: Present, former GIs of 16th Infantry angry over the tarnishing its record has received with the arrest of the prime bombing suspect. (1995)
Despite Army’s Assurances, Violence at Home (2008)
Child ‘Forrest Gump’ actor leaving Army (2008)
Army Alcoholics: More Soldiers Hitting the Bottle (2010)
One-fourth of killings in Sedgwick County since 1989 happened in 7 census tracts (2014)
Feds charge Kansas man with Fort Riley bomb plot (2015)
Kansas woman pleads guilty to sex trafficking a minor (2016)
Thousands of US troops deploying to Afghanistan, Europe this summer (2017)

Army Pvt. John Martinez Found Dead in Barracks at Fort Riley, Kansas (August 19, 2017)

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Pvt. John Martinez, US Army

Army Pvt. John Martinez, 19, was found unconscious in his barracks room and later pronounced dead at the Fort Riley hospital on August 19, 2017. Pvt. Martinez was a cavalry scout with A Troop, 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team at Fort Riley, Kansas. Pvt. Martinez was the fourth stateside soldier death at Fort Riley in less then a month. Staff Sgt. Alejandro Franquiz, 30, was found dead in his parked vehicle off I-70 on July 31; Spc. Peter Robbins, 23, was killed by police officers in a confrontation in Junction City, Kansas on August 8; and Spc. Richard Cox, 22, died of a gunshot wound on post on August 16. Pvt. Martinez joined the Army in July 2016 and arrived at Fort Riley in November 2016.

Related Links:
Fort Riley soldier found dead on post
‘Dagger’ brigade soldier dies on post
‘Dagger’ brigade Soldier dies on Fort Riley
Big Red One is mourning death of another soldier
Fourth Fort Riley soldier dies in a month
Fourth Fort Riley soldier in less than a month dies
Fourth Fort Riley soldier dies in less than a month after being found unresponsive Saturday
Fort Riley soldier found dead in barracks, fourth death this month
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Riley, Kansas

Army Spc. Richard “Brennan” Cox Died Four Days After Suffering Gunshot Wound at Fort Riley, Kansas (August 16, 2017)

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Spc. Richard Cox, US Army

Army Spc. Richard “Brennan” Cox, 22, died August 16, 2017 after suffering a gunshot wound on Fort Riley in Kansas. Spc. Cox was found wounded August 13, 2017 and was rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment but succumbed to his wounds. Spc. Cox served as an indirect infantryman with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. Spc. Cox joined the Army in July 2013 and while stationed at Fort Riley, he was deployed to Kuwait in June 2013 and South Korea in October 2016.

Related Links:
Fort Riley soldier dies from gunshot wound
Army: Fort Riley soldier dies from gunshot wound
Fort Riley soldier dies at Topeka hospital after suffering gunshot wound
Black Hawk man dies from gunshot at Army base in Kansas
‘Devil’ brigade Soldier dies in Topeka
Fort Riley soldier dies from gunshot wound
Soldier from Black Hawk dies in Kansas
Helping veterans and soldiers with PTSD
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Riley, Kansas

Army Staff Sgt. Alejandro Franquiz of Fort Riley, Kansas Found Dead from Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound Inside Vehicle Parked on I-70 (July 31, 2017)

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Staff Sgt. Alejandro Franquiz, US Army

Army Staff Sgt. Alejandro Franquiz, 30, was found deceased inside a vehicle parked on Interstate 70 on July 31, 2017. Staff Sgt. Franquiz was a section chief with Company B, 601st Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. Staff Sgt. Franquiz arrived at Fort Riley in October 2015 after having previously served at Fort Riley from December 2008 to August 2012. Staff Sgt. Franquiz deployed three times, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. An autopsy has determined the cause of death was suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Related Links:
Obituary: Staff Sgt. Alejandro Franquiz
Fort Riley man found dead in vehicle
Man found dead in vehicle on I-70
Fort Riley man found dead in Geary County
Fort Riley man found dead in vehicle on I-70
Geary County authorities investigating death of man found in vehicle on Interstate 70
Fort Riley soldier died of self-inflicted gunshot wound
Fort Riley man found dead in Geary County ruled a suicide
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Riley, Kansas

Fort Riley Army Spc. Phillip Cruz-Medellin Found Dead in Manhattan, Kansas; Official Cause of Death Unknown (November 15, 2016)

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Spc. Phillip Cruz-Medellin, U.S. Army

Spc. Phillip Cruz-Medellin, US Army, was found dead in Manhattan, Kansas on November 15, 2016. Spc. Cruz-Medellin was a satellite communications operator and maintainer with the 267th Signal Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade at nearby Fort Riley. He was from Prairie Lea, Texas and enlisted in the Army in October 2014. Reports indicate that the civilian authorities were investigating the cause of death but the official cause of death is unknown.

Related Links:
Obituary of Phillip Cruz Medellin
SPC Phillip Cruz-Medellin (1995-2016)
Fort Riley Soldier Found Dead
Fort Riley soldier found dead in Manhattan
Fort Riley soldier found dead in Manhattan
Big Red One Soldier Found Dead in Manhattan
Army identifies 1st Infantry Division soldier found dead near Fort Riley
Fort Riley soldier found dead in nearby college town identified
Death of Fort Riley soldier in Manhattan under investigation
Fort Riley soldier found dead, investigation underway

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen Died of Wounds Sustained When Team’s Convoy Came Under Fire Entering Jordan Military Base (November 4, 2016)

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Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen, U.S. Army

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen, 27, of Lawrence, Kansas died of wounds sustained when his team’s convoy came under fire entering a military base in Jafr, Jordan on November 4, 2016. Staff Sgt. Lewellen was on a training mission in Jordan on behalf of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Green Beret’s Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe and Staff Sgt. James Moriarty also lost their lives in the deadly attack. The Department of Defense reports that the incident is under investigation. Initial reports indicate that Jordan accused US Army soldiers of sparking the incident but the US disputes those allegations and stated the attacks appear to be deliberate.

In the News:

Newly released video shows a deadly shooting in which a Jordanian solider killed 3 U.S. Army Green Berets who were serving as military trainers in Jordan. CBSN’s Anne Marie-Green has the story. -CBS News (July 25, 2017)

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew C. Lewellen
Fort Campbell soldier, Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen
5th Special Forces Group casualties identified
US Special Forces Killed in Jordan Identified
Fort Campbell soldiers killed in Jordan shooting
Soldiers from Kansas, Texas, Arizona killed in Jordan
Army identifies three Special Forces soldiers killed in Jordan
Army ID’s 3 Highly Decorated Green Berets Killed in Jordan After Convoy Comes Under Fire
Soldier From Kansas Killed in Combat
Missouri Native Killed In Jordan Attack
Kirksville, Mo., native and two other Green Berets killed in attack in Jordan
Kirksville graduate one of three U.S. service men killed in Jordan
Green Berets killed in Jordan shooting has Kansas, Missouri roots
Kansas man killed in attack on Army soldiers in Jordan
Friend remembers 27-year-old Missouri Green Beret recently killed in action
Body of soldier killed in Jordan returned to hometown Kirksville, Mo
Services held for Special Forces soldier killed in Jordan
Services held for Missouri soldier killed in Jordan
Sergeant First Class Matthew Lewellen laid to rest, northeast Missouri pays respects
Missouri soldier killed in Jordan buried Saturday
Army Special Forces soldiers killed in Jordan were working for the CIA
U.S. Investigates Deaths of 3 Soldiers in Jordan as Possible Terrorism
U.S. Investigates Jordan Troop Shooting as Terrorism
US disputes Jordan’s claim that Americans caused shooting
US disputes Jordan’s claim that Americans caused shooting
US refutes claim Americans, including Kan. soldier, sparked deadly shooting
Killing of U.S. soldiers in Jordan appears to have been deliberate, investigators say
The US lost 6 elite Green Berets in a 72-hour-span last week
Gov. Nixon orders flags to half-staff statewide on Nov. 19 in honor of fallen soldier from Adair County
US Special Forces soldiers killed in Jordan were working for CIA
Military finds 3 US soldiers killed in Jordan acted properly, showed ‘heroism’
Witnesses describe Jordan shooting that killed 3 US troops
Jordanian Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing 3 US Soldiers
Jordanian Soldier Sentenced To Life In Killing Of 3 American Troops
Jordanian soldier sentenced to life for killing 3 US troops
How 3 Americans Were Killed in Jordan | The Atlantic
U.S. Soldier Who Survived Shootout in Jordan Tells His Story
New video contradicts Jordanian accounts of how 3 US soldiers
Jordan’s military releases footage of 3 U.S. Green Berets killed last November
Footage shows Jordanian soldier gunning down three US Army Green Berets
New video shows deadly shooting of 3 U.S. Army Green Berets
Video: Three American soldiers killed by Jordanian soldier
Fathers of 3 Green Berets Killed in Jordan File Lawsuit Alleging Cover-Up
Families of US soldiers killed in Jordan sue gov’t

Army Sgt. Joseph Stifter Died of Wounds Suffered When Armored HMMWV was Involved in Roll-over Accident in Iraq (2016)

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Sgt. Joseph Stifter, US Army

Army Sgt. Joseph Stifter, 30, of Glendale, California, died of wounds suffered when his armored HMMWV was involved in a roll-over accident on January 28, 2016 at Al Asad Airbase, Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Sgt. Stifter was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. At the time of the press release, the incident was under investigation.

Related Links:
Obituary: Joseph Francis Stifter
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Fort Riley Soldier Dies in Iraq
Fort Riley Soldier Killed
Soldier who died in Iraq accident is identified
Sgt. Joseph Stifter, former Fort Riley soldier, dies in Iraq
Fort Riley soldier dies during Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq
Soldier from Glendale killed in crash while serving in Iraq
Glendale Soldier Killed In Rollover Accident In Iraq
Soldier From Glendale Killed in Rollover Crash at Iraq Airbase
Flags at half-staff to honor Army soldier from Glendale killed in Iraq
Community mourns the death of Sgt. Joseph Stifter
St. Francis Alumnus Dies in Iraq Accident
Nearly five years after Petraeus scandal, bad decisions still resonate
Statue Dedication Honoring Local Soldiers
Tribute To Our Fallen Soldiers – US Army Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter, 30, of Glendale, California
Enduring Heroes to Honor Local Fallen Soldiers with a Monument in Pasadena
Families will honor Pasadena soldiers’ sacrifice at ‘Enduring Heroes’ monument unveiling
It’s Time to Honor, It’s Time to Remember: Enduring Heroes


Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter, US Army

Air Force Major John Gerrie Died from Non-Combat Related Incident at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar (2016)

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Major John Gerrie, US Air Force

Air Force Major John Gerrie, 42, of Nickerson, Kansas, died from a non-combat related incident on January 16, 2016 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Major Gerrie was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 453rd Electronic Warfare Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas. The official cause of death is unknown.

Related Links:
Obituary: Major John David Gerrie
DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty
USAF Officer Dies in Qatar
Airman dies in Qatar
S.A. Based Airman Dies In Qatar
San Antonio-based airman dies in Qatar
Air Force officer dies in noncombat incident in Qatar
U.S. airman dies from ‘non-combat’ injures in Quatar
U.S. Airman John Gerrie from Kansas killed while serving in Qatar
Airman, 42, from Kansas dies in non-combat incident in Qatar
US Air Force Officer Dead in Non-Combat Incident in Qatar
Air Force officer from Kansas dead in non-combat incident in Qatar
Tribute To Our Fallen Soldiers – US Air Force Maj. John D. Gerrie, 42, of Nickerson, Kansas


Maj. John D. Gerrie, US Air Force